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Assemblage Art by Birds
09.10.2009
01:29 pm
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The Vegetable Museum by Ju Duoqi
09.10.2009
12:55 pm
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Vegetable artist Ju Duoqi says,

In the summer of ?Ǭ

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.10.2009
12:55 pm
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Nick Cave’s Bunny Munro, The Cat Piano
09.10.2009
12:56 am
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A trove of enticing Nick Cave news spotted over on Pitchfork:

The Death of Bunny Munro, the new novel from Nick Cave, is the story of a sex-addicted salesman, and it reads something like Charles Bukowski with a raging boner and an obsession with MTV Hits.  But since we’re living in the multi-media age, the book itself is only part of the story.  So: The Death of Bunny Munro isn’t just a book.  It’s also an audio recording!  And an iPhone app!  And a tour!

The iPhone app for the book, available now, features not only the book itself in text form but also the audiobook (read by Cave and featuring music by Cave and Bad Seed Warren Ellis) and video clips of Cave reading from the book (see above).

In the coming months, Cave will also take the book on the road.  On September 14, next Monday, Cave will come to New York, appearing at Barnes & Noble’s Union Square location alongside journalist Katherine Lanpher.  And Cave will spend the fall touring Canada, the UK, and Europe, appearing alongside fellow Bad Seeds Warren Ellis and Martyn Casey.  The shows will mix readings with live music, and Cave will take questions from the audience.  And finally, in non-Bunny Munro news, Cave has also narrated “The Cat’s Piano,” a new short film from the People’s Republic of Animation.

You can watch the animated short below, but I can’t wait for some of that live stuff to trickle L.A.‘s way!

 
Official site for Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.10.2009
12:56 am
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A Basterds Antidote: Kobayashi’s The Human Condition
09.09.2009
05:40 pm
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Although I found parts of Inglourious Basterds entertaining (especially the acting), Quentin Tarantino’s rewriting of World War II’s end days left me, as a whole, both confused and disappointed.  I can understand film as wish-fulfillment (that’s why we go to movies).  I can also recognize the appeal of what-if scenarios (The Man In The High Castle, anyone?).  But fighting genocide with genocide, and showing it triumph, over Hitler and History, strikes me as infantile, and reduces to cartoonish dimensions the very real horrors of the time.

And if you’re of the camp that thinks QT’s commenting, like, ironically on this stuff, that would mean you could detect, amid all the gunshots and carvings, a trace of regret here and there—even some ambivalence.  Well, you can’t.  Not in a single, gleeful frame.  It would also presuppose some recognition on Tarantino’s part of life beyond film—of film as a reflecting pool that’s capable of bouncing back at us something more than the shards and slivers of other films.  I’m not sure he’s that self-aware.  I’m not sure he cares to be.

For me, the war film, or, more specifically, The Nazi War Film, best conveys its horror when its full dimensions haven’t yet been realized.  As something approaching on the horizon, dark and inevitable for the film’s participants.  I think that’s why the below clip from Cabaret chills far more effectively than anything in Basterds or Downfall; why a Weimar-era Aryan youth singing as he salutes freaks me the fuck out far more than the table-banging Hitlers of Wuttke and Ganz.

 
So, with all this in mind, I read with great interest Grady Hendrix’s Slate piece about this week’s Criterion release of Masaki Kobayashi‘s The Human Condition:

Deep where Basterds is shallow, expansive where Basterds is puny, and profound where Basterds is glib, Kobayashi’s humanist triumph is finally getting the Western exposure it deserves.  Based in part on a six-volume novel by Junpei Gomikawa and, in part, on Kobayashi’s own wartime experiences as a pacifist trying to survive in the Japanese army, The Human Condition is as grand in scale and scope as that other anti-war classic, Gone With the Wind.  Like the South, Japan lost a war and can’t stop talking about it.  Every great Japanese director has a movie about the traumas of WWII under his belt, but none is as ambitious as The Human Condition.

Before you rush to queue this up, though, Hendrix also warns that the movie runs nine-and-a-half hours (albeit spread over three films), and is so “monumentally painful to watch, that it stands as the Grand Canyon of despair.”  Well, for those of you willing to commit yourselves to only, say, the San Fernando Valley of despair, the following trailer for Part I clocks in at just under 5 minutes.

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.09.2009
05:40 pm
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The Great Flip Wilson, Lena Horne’s Rocky Raccoon
09.09.2009
01:24 pm
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My childhood television-watching memories were pretty much informed by three people: Maxwell Smart, Julia Child and the late, great Flip Wilson.  Comedian Clerow “Flip” Wilson was a Laugh-In regular and a frequent guest on Johnny Carson, but I remember him best, and most vividly, from his variety show that ran on NBC in the early 70s.

Whether he was dressed in drag as Geraldine (watch him flirt here with Muhammad Ali), or posing as the con-artist minister, “Reverend Leroy” (before he goes off to “fight sin” in Vegas, watch here as he puts in charge of his flock Redd Foxx‘s “Pussyfoot Johnson”), Flip and his show were definitely groundbreaking, and not just to my childhood mind—although I was probably the only kid in my neighborhood who went around shouting, The Devil Made Me Do It!

Anyway, The Flip Wilson Show was a regular stop for mainstream acts like Aretha Franklin and The Jackson 5, but, for his five years on primetime network TV, Flip was also a tireless champion of ripening greats like Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor and Albert Brooks.   And while I don’t remember their appearances, some of them, fortunately, are now showing up on YouTube.  As “reissue fever” sweeps the land—or just Pitchfork—witness below the great Lena Horne doing her rendition of “Rocky Raccoon.”  Amazing!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.09.2009
01:24 pm
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Man Says Monkey Speeder Is Not Him
09.09.2009
12:01 pm
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Some monkey business on Valley highways is not bringing a laugh from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

DPS is pursuing 37 unpaid photo enforcement tickets issued to Dave Vontesmar. Vontesmar said the photos depict somebody in a monkey mask and he wasn’t the speeding driver.

Not so, said DPS Lt. Steve Harrison.

“We think there’s sufficient evidence, certainly, to charge him, and it’s up to the court to decide whether he’s guilty or not,” said Harrison.

Harrison said officers have seen Vontesmar donning masks.

“Our officers actually conducted surveillance on him and observed him putting the mask on just prior to the photo enforcement zone. So obviously, he intended on speeding through the zone and was covering his face intentionally,” Harrison added. “He had two masks. One appeared to be a monkey, the other one appeared to be a giraffe or some type of gazelle design.”

Man says monkey speeder is not him


(Thanks Iila!)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.09.2009
12:01 pm
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Mr. Cool Ice: Best Tattoo(s) Ever
09.09.2009
02:46 am
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(This unspeakable image brought to you by 4Chan.)

(UPDATE: Oh God… Oh God… Oh GOD… there’s A VIDEO AND IT’S FREAKING HILARIOUS.)

Posted by Jason Louv
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09.09.2009
02:46 am
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WorldChanging: Jean Russell on Thrivability
09.09.2009
01:18 am
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As the sustainability dialogue moves forward, I’ve seen two interesting directions in which it’s being reframed and recontextualized from being something about “just surviving” the ecological crisis towards being about actually living in a green world. One is Jamais Cascio’s concept of “resilience”?

Posted by Jason Louv
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09.09.2009
01:18 am
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Spike Jonze’s Harold And The Purple Crayon
09.08.2009
06:59 pm
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Fascinating read in Sunday’s NYT Magazine charting the ups and downs of Spike Jonze, and his efforts to bring to the screen an adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are that didn’t feel studio-diluted.  It’s been a long, difficult march, but even before Wild Things (and before, for that matter, either Malkovich or Adaptation), Jonze was preparing to tackle another children’s classic, Crockett Johnson‘s Harold And The Purple Crayon.  He didn’t get far with it, but his efforts did yield a little-seen film test, which, thanks to YouTube, you can now watch below:

 
Official site for Where The Wild Things Are

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.08.2009
06:59 pm
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h+ Magazine: New Issue Online
09.08.2009
06:07 pm
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Via h+ Editor in Chief, RU Sirius:

The Fall Issue of h+ magazine is now online: featuring Erik Davis on Dollhouse, Tweaking Your Neurons, The Psychedelic Transhumanists, Sex and the Singularity, Jonathan Coulton?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.08.2009
06:07 pm
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